Hiking with Sprocket is one of my favorite things to do: he’s a good listener but doesn’t argue, is willing to go anywhere, and gives me a bit of company on the trail. After we hiked Signal Peak a few weeks ago, I bragged a little bit on Twitter about my awesome hiking pup and Adam responded with a book recommendation: Following Atticus.
Honestly, I wasn’t all that interested in reading about a little tiny pocket dog climbing mountains. Dogs aren’t supposed to be purse sized! Amazon had the Kindle edition on sale for $1.99 though so I decided to give it a try (it’s back to regular price, $5.74, now).
I don’t know why I doubted. Tom Ryan’s Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and An Extraordinary Friendship is about a dog, hiking, finding peace in the outdoors, and even peakbagging.
The story starts with Ryan becoming a pet owner. He and his first dog, Max, bond and Ryan begins to develop a sense of how a dog and his owner can help each other. After Max’s death, he adopts Atticus, a miniature schnauzer.
Along the lines, Tom was introduced to hiking New Hampshire’s 4,000′ mountains by one of his brothers. Overweight and out of shape, following Atticus to the mountaintop inspired him. Before he knew it, he and Atticus climbed all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000′ peaks in a summer.
Futher inspired by a friend’s strength as she battled cancer, Ryan decided to scale the 4,000′ peaks again. In the winter. Twice. The money raised by their attempt would benefit The Jimmy Fund. After their near triump, came the inevitable dog-book crying. F just gave me the “here-she-goes-again” look as I slithered to the floor to pet my own pup.
Fortunately, the book didn’t end there. Instead, Ryan and Tom headed to the mountains again to re-attempt their winter goal: this time to raise money for Angell Memorial Medical Center, the MSPCA’s veterinary clinic.
Following Atticus is exactly what you would expect: a heartwarming story about a dog and his human learning how truly wonderful and inspiring the outdoors can be. This story made me cry, made me smile, and made me happy to have such a loving, wonderful dog in my own life.